November 10, 2021 - Persistence

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Yesterday turned out to be as difficult as the day before. It didn’t help that I had things on my schedule other than writing. If I’ve learned anything over the past ten years, it’s that I need to get my writing done in the morning. There are days, like today, when I can put in a second session later, but they usually include a good morning session as well.

One thing that helped today was watching a recording of a session from a writers conference that is taking place this week. The title of it was Production and Writing of a Long Series, which is what I’m hoping for with not only my Shipwreck Point Mysteries, but the new Rainbow Ranch Mysteries as well.

Ironically, the presenter immediately announced that she was going to go off script. Yes, she was going to talk some about writing a long series, because she has one, but what she was really going to talk about was what it took to be a successful author. Mostly, she focused on mindset, a word I’ve been hearing a lot of lately.

And just to catch our attention, she started out by saying she was the author of 87 books. She produces over a book a month most of the time and sells phenomenally well. While we were still trying to comprehend that, she dropped her second bombshell. It took her until book forty to be profitable.

Okay, so I’m thinking of my KDP Dashboard with its current eleven published novels and three or four short stories that has taken me almost ten years to populate, and counting on my fingers to come up with it’s going to take me another thirty years to get to that point.

Except it might not. See, Sarah Noffke told us there were several things that made a difference with that fortieth book. For one thing, she found her passion. Up until then, she’d been writing science fiction and space opera, a genre that’s popular, but she found it a slog to keep writing. For book forty, she wrote an urban fantasy novel. She loved writing in that genre, the book sold well, and suddenly she couldn’t wait to get to work each day.

But there were four other pieces to her success that all worked together. Most of all was learning to believe in herself. As she said, “What we believe will always come true.” Or, as Henry Ford put it, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Yeah, this is a hard one. It’s hard to check your sales every morning and see you’ve only sold two books. Or sometimes none. You have to learn not to tell yourself you’re a failure, but to say something positive about that. I dare you to come up with something that doesn’t sound hokey.

Another point that resonated with me was taking better care of yourself. She discovered that eating healthier and regular exercise made her feel better. I know she’s right, but I’ve been struggling with that lately. If you’re a certain type of person, when you’re down on yourself, you go for the chocolate or the potato chips or something similarly not-nutritious. You watch TV instead of going for a walk. Her enthusiasm and reaffirmation that taking care of your body would lead to an improvement in your mind encouraged me to make (another) fresh start today. And, amazingly enough, I didn’t need an afternoon nap, I wrote over 2,000 words, and didn’t feel stuck once.

There was a lot more to this presentation, and I’m going to watch it again either this evening or tomorrow and take notes. Because it’s just what I need at this point in my life.

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Elise's bookshelf: currently-reading

A Clash of Kings
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